Platte County's Valentine 1st to make state cut this year for Pirates

Platte County already has its first qualifier for the Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships, continuing a recent run of success.

Pirates senior Rachel Valentine won the 100-yard breaststroke in the 27-team Winnetonka Winter Classic on Saturday, Dec. 10. Her time of 1 minute 12.47 seconds beat the field by more than 2 seconds and was good enough for a state cut.

Rachel Valentine

Rachel Valentine

Valentine also placed ninth in 100 butterfly, ending up with two of four top-10 finishes for Platte County. She swam a leg on the seventh-place 200 freestyle team along with junior Bailey Newell and freshmen Alison Boydston and Lindsey Swindler.

Newell also had a ninth-place individual finish, coming in at 1:10.46 in the 100 backstroke. 
Platte County scored 89 team points and finished 11th overall, just nine points back of ninth place. The Pirates were minus four seniors due to district band and the ACT test.

Valentine has qualified for state in the 100 breaststroke each of the past three seasons.

Last year, she posted the 14th best qualifying time to set the school record in 1:09.57. She finished 16th overall and became just the second swimmer for the Pirates to earn honorable mention all-state honors.

Blue Springs South Invitational

Park Hill finished third out of five teams Saturday, Dec. 10 in Blue Springs, Mo.

Nani Welsh, a junior, was part of four top-two finishes, winning the 50 freestyle and placing second in the 500 freestyle. She also swam on the runner-up 200 medley relay and on the first-place 400 freestyle team with Emma Will, Brooklyn Pierce and Abigail Culp, who placed second in the 100 freestyle.

Minus several swimmers at the meet, Park Hill did not have any new state cuts.

Raymore-Peculiar triangular

Park Hill topped Platte County and the hosts Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Raymore, Mo., while Platte County defeated Raymore-Peculiar in the third team score.

Welsh made her fourth and fifth state cuts during the meet, winning the 200 freestyle (1:58.85) and the 100 breaststroke. Park Hill won eight of the events, including two of the three relays. Pierce (200 individual medley), Sophia Lane (50 freestyle), Pierce (100 freestyle) and Will (100 backstroke) also won events.

Will, Culp, Ariana Wharton-Walker and Jenee Hensley won the 100 freestyle relay for the Trojans, while Welsh, Pierce, Culp and Lane were the 400 freestyle team.

Platte County’s Newell, Valentine, Hannah Havemeier and Olivia Forrester opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay. Havemeier grabbed the Pirates’ only individual victory, going 6:06.36 in the 500 freestyle.

Liberty Triangular

Park Hill South topped both Liberty schools by nearly identical scores Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Liberty, Mo.

The Panthers won all 12 events and posted six state qualifying times, beating Liberty North 123-63 and Liberty 122-63. Georgia Clark, a sophomore, won the 200 freestyle (1:59.49)and 100 freestyle (55.11), posting her fourth and fifth state cuts of the season, while Allison Garrett, a senior, qualified in her second and third events with wins in the 100 butterfly (1:00.20) and 200 individual medley (2:14.89).

Other individual winners included Kirsten Aken (50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke), Taylor Young (1-meter diving) and Paige Riekhof (500 freestyle, 100 backstroke). Aken finished just ahead of Park Hill South teammate Nadya McCullough in the 50 freestyle for the Panthers’ lone 1-2 finish.

Park Hill South’s 200 freestyle (Clark, Garrett, Aken and McCullough) and 400 freestyle (Clark, Garrett, Riekhof and Peyton Wiewel) also posted state cuts in victories. The 200 medley relay team of Riekhof, Aken, McCullough and Wiewel was also an easy winner for the Panthers.